A cop with the Housing Authority of New Orleans was shot and killed early Sunday while patrolling a housing project construction site. He was found in his cruiser with one of its windows broken out.
James Bennett Jr., 45, who spent six years with Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office before joining the housing authority's police squad in May 2013, was identified by the New Orleans coroner's office as the officer killed, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported
The newspaper said authorities continued their investigation into the shooting and have not made an arrest.
"What we know right now is that he was fatally wounded, and it is just a sad day," New Orleans Police Department superintendent Michael Harrison told WWL-TV
Authorities told WWL-TV that the driver's side window on Bennett's cruiser was broken out and the vehicle had hit a curb by the time officers arrived Sunday morning. Police told the television station that the patrol car was still in drive.
Robert Anderson, police chief of the housing authority, told WWL-TV that Bennett was its first officer killed in the line of duty.
"Such a tragic loss," Anderson said to the television station. "We have never had an on-duty death in the department's history. We know the men and women of the NOPD will work to bring this to a conclusion."
New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement Monday that New Orleans police and the housing authorities will work together in an effort to identify and arrest those involved in the shooting.
"NOPD and HANO will work very closely to identify and arrest those responsible for this heinous assault," said Landrieu. "NOPD and HANO are part of the same close-knit law enforcement family that puts their lives on the line to protect and serve the people of New Orleans. Never are we more aware of the risk they face every day than we are on terrible days like this."
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